Often served with fried fish, Hushpuppies are a classic southern side dish!
I say it quite often. “Shut it down, Max.” Or sometimes it’s, “Seriously, Max? What are you barking at?” Our dog Max (a 30-pound, white cockapoo) has always loved a good window. In my apartment in Baton Rouge, he’d climb on the back of the couch and then lean off so he could look out the window. And he’d sit there for hours watching as my neighbors came home from work. (He’d bark when he recognized someone.)
The front living room in our house has full-length windows facing the street. That means Max just needs to stand there and look out. He watches the mailman go by each day. He keeps an eye on the neighbor when he’s working in his yard. He yells at the UPS man. And God forbid someone actually ring the doorbell. They’d probably think a 100-pound attack dog is about to come barreling through that door!
And no matter how many times I tell him to hush, he doesn’t listen. He’s a stubborn dog, but we love him! I’m thinking a good batch of hushpuppies would help distract Max from his self-appointed guard dog position. Hushpuppies are a classic Southern food. They’re essentially just fried cornbread batter, but man are they delicious!
According to legend, fishermen would fry up bits of the leftover cornbread batter from dinner and then give it to their dogs as a snack. “Hush, puppy” soon become hushpuppies. Some folks will tell you that the term actually came about in the Civil War when soldiers wanted to keep their dogs quiet. As with many such regional foods, the real origin is murky. And you know what? I’m ok with that. At the end of the day, hushpuppies are easy to make and quite delicious!
Hushpuppies are typically served as a side dish with fried fish. After all, nothing beats a fried main course like a fried side dish, too, right? And since they often show up at fish fries, hushpuppies are typically served with tartar sauce for dipping. But when it comes to the sauce, I say do what you want to do. I didn’t care for tartar sauce when I was a kid, so I dipped mine in ketchup. These might as well have been called hushsons because a basket of hushpuppies with a side of ketchup would always shut me right up.
Hushpuppies are an iconic southern side dish, and they’re a bit hard to find here in the northeast. We have a couple of fish fry restaurants near us, but sadly they don’t offer hushpuppies. So I decided to just make my own here at home. Laura walked in from work, took one look at the plate on the counter and said, “Hold up…are those hushpuppies?” Sure enough! If you can’t find hushpuppies near you (or if you’ve got a dog who barks a lot), then just whip up a batch at home! Enjoy!
*On a side note, hushpuppies are not actually safe for dogs as they include onions. Just make your pups a batch of homemade dog bones instead!
- 1½ cups cornmeal
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 medium white onion grated
- ¼ cup green onions chopped
- canola oil for frying
- tartar sauce for dipping
- Using a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, grated onion and green onions. Pour mixture into bowl with dry ingredients and stir just until combined. (Note: Do not overmix or hush puppies will be tough.) Let mixture stand for 10 minutes.
- Using a deep fryer or a large Dutch oven, heat the canola or vegetable oil to 375°F. Oil should be ~2-3” deep. (An easy way to check the temperature is to drop a pinch of flour in the oil. If it bubbles up and turns brown quickly, then the oil is ready to go.)
- Using two spoons or a small ice cream scoop, drop rounded tablespoons of batter into oil. (Tip: Fry these hush puppies in batches of 8-10 to avoid overcrowding pan.)
- Fry until golden brown (~3-4 minutes).
- Using a metal slotted spoon, remove hush puppies from the oil and let drain on paper towels or brown paper bags.
- Salt lightly and then serve with tartar sauce for dipping.